IDEAS sustainable energy contest launched in Guyana

The 2012 IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest for the Caribbean was yesterday launched in Guyana at the Pegasus Hotel.

The contest, which calls for innovative proposals to promote sustainable energy technologies, is sponsored by the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank (IDB) together with the UK Department of International Development (DfID), the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP International) and the South Korean Government. It is intended to support the development of innovative projects, enterprises and applied technologies aimed at the adoption, innovation, assimilation, development and transfer of technologies in connection with renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, energy access, climate change mitigation and fossil fuel substitution.

Leighton Waterman of GVEP said the initiative is to encourage innovative energy solutions for the region, and suitable projects will be awarded up to US$200,000. He noted that energy prices in the Caribbean are among the highest in the world and with simple innovations could be decreased significantly. He added that the focus of the contest will be on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Also at the launching, British High Commissioner Andrew Ayre said he hoped the contest will provide an avenue for global benefits for renewable energy. He added that they are expecting the projects chosen to show that they can generate a quantity for greater returns.

Ayre said that the intervention will contribute to the Guyana Low Carbon Develop-ment Strategy and the UK’s vision of “working with businesses to open new markets, and extend access to financial services, stimulate new markets while simultaneously tackling climate change.  We also hope that it will contribute to the wider body of knowledge on low carbon development.”

He also noted the need for a more robust evidence base to prove the technologies work and demonstrate low carbon development in practice in traditionally “high carbon” sectors, like transport and building.

Ayre said that climate change and risk reduction is a central part of the UK’s £75 million development programme in the Caribbean and the DfID will spend at least £22 million between 2011 and 2015 on practical, tangible sectoral and community based interventions. “UK is putting its money where its mouth is,” he emphasised. He added that the British government is committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. It has also shown the strongest of leadership on finance, he said, by its commitment to spend 0.7% of national income as official development assistance by 2013, and it is the first major economy to meet that UN target.

Caricom representative Joseph Williams said the regional body welcomed the focus on the Caribbean in this round of the contest and that the call for renewable energy and reduce the dependency on fossil fuel is a remarkable one.

Entries for the contest are invited from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Interested persons and enterprises or organizations can apply online at Each applicant may submit only one application in Spanish, English or French. The deadline for applications is April 30, 2012.

The contest was first held in February of 2009, with the support of the IDB, the Govern-ment of South Korea, GVEP International and the German Technical Cooperation for Deve-lopment (GIZ) and funded by the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ) and the Netherlands Directorate-General of Development Coopera-tion. Over 1,100 applications were received and 26 winners selected, including three from the Caribbean. The second contest was launched on September 15, 2011 and saw 700 applications and 15 winners.

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